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The software industry includes businesses involved in the development, maintenance and publication of software using any business model. The industry also includes software services, such as training, documentation, and consulting.


The watershed event in the development of the U.S. software industry can be traced to 1969, when the U.S. Justice Department forced IBM to "unbundle" its software from the related hardware and required that the firm sell or lease its software products. Prior to that time, nearly all operating system and applications software had been developed by hardware manufacturers, dominated by IBM, or by programmers in the using organizations.

Software developers in the 1950s and 1960s worked independently or in small teams to tackle specific tasks, resulting in customized one-of-a-kind products. Since this landmark government action, a software development market has emerged, and software developers and engineers have moved through several development paradigms.


  • History section: The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Infrastructure for Software Testing (Final Report), at 2-1 (May 2002) (full-text).

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